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Source Matters

Thinking about Origin

Traveling to learn about physical and cultural geography and related human experiences is a vital aspect of my art practice. The fundamental objective is one of visceral understanding of a people and place, filtered through the experience of an outsider pretending to be an insider. The work becomes a strange commemoration of a time and place; a kind of reverse souvenir made by the visitor instead of the visited. Predominately my work is about the global context in which objects are made and cross-cultural negotiation. Specifically each series of works is about a particular time, place and people.

In my most recent work the geographic origin and physical properties of the material directly influence the final design of the object I create. Materials that are mundane or industrially utilized are impregnated with concepts or historical events that tell a story about the place from which the material is sourced. By traveling to physically gather material myself I create a personal connection to the source and visibly render the bond in the object produced.  I personally account for the journey from source to consumer, acting as a liaison, intent on bringing the two worlds closer to one another. The work’s ultimate goal is to inspire the viewer to consider a complex network of historical, economic, and geopolitical forces that bring an object into existence. Thus I intentionally collapse the notion that art or any designed object can emerge from an insular creative bubble, untouched by the issues of culture and economy.

For each collected material artifact or event, I fabricate a protective casing, mode of wear, or means of presentation. Through the creation of trophy from what is generally considered mundane or archaic, I transform the viewer’s perception of significance, beauty and value.  I commemorate events and realities that are typically unacknowledged or consciously overlooked in an unexpected way by combining material and transformed photographic imagery. Formally my work references historical jewelry or the designed object. I appropriate historical symbols in an attempt to give the viewer a starting point to understanding work that is conceptually layered.

My work is invested in the relationship between geographic material origin and the social, environmental, and economic implications of supporting an economy by utilizing a medium. The combination of material, form, and imagery has manifested in the work in differing ways, discussing the industrial collision of East and West, first and third world border culture, and the effects of urbanization on modern and traditional craft. By asking the viewer to consider imagery in conversation with material origin, I attempt to provoke questions concerning our collective consumer habits and notions of authenticity, as related to perceived value.  I seek to discuss the role of the artist as a consumer and promoter of product.  To what extent do we as artist/consumer become responsible for the acts of the producer?  In what are we consciously willing to participate, and when do we prefer to turn a blind eye?

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